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250,000 Dementia Patients Get No Treatment

Posted May. 17, 2010 07:03,   


More than half of dementia patients get no medical treatment for their condition, according to the results of a Health and Welfare Ministry survey released Sunday.

Of 445,000 people aged 65 or older believed to have dementia, some 189,900 or 42.9 percent received treatment.

In 2007, 33.4 percent of some 400,000 senior citizens with dementia got medical treatment, whereas 41.6 percent of 420,000 elderly people with the disease did so in 2008.

“Many dementia patients fail to conduct early checkups on their own, and their families also don’t take them to hospitals before the symptoms get serious,” a ministry official said. “While the treatment rate is rising every year, many patients still go without medical care.”

Among patients diagnosed with dementia, just 28.1 percent took medication in 2007, 33.7 percent in 2008, and 44.7 percent last year.

Despite the government’s offer of free dementia examinations to those aged 60 or older and a subsidy of 30,000 won (26.48 U.S. dollars) in medical expenses, the situation has improved little.